Anger swells as people demand public execution of Zainab’s murderer

LAHORE: Angry citizens called Wednesday for the public execution of a suspect accused of raping and murdering a minor girl in a case that enraged the country and stoked fears a serial killer was preying on children.

The suspect, Imran Ali, was remanded in custody for 14 days by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore one day after his arrest over the rape and murder of eight-year-old Zainab Fatima Ameen in Kasur.

Zainab’s murder earlier this month sparked outrage across the country with riots erupting in Kasur as thousands swarmed police stations and set fire to politicians’ homes, while citizens took to social media demanding action.

As Ali appeared in court under heavy security Wednesday, people across the country demanded capital punishment.

Kasur tragedy: Main accused of Zainab’s rape, murder sent on 14-day physical remand

The public outcry has been growing since the arrest with people calling for Ali to be “publicly hanged or stoned to death”.

Ehsan Ilahi, the father of another rape victim, who survived being brutally attacked but remains in a critical condition, said nothing short of torture would suffice.

“His fingers and hands should be broken. He should be given wounds,” said Ilahi.

“Hang the child killer publicly now!! Nothing less than death penalty!” wrote Ayesha J Khan on Twitter.

The arrest was made after officials confirmed that Ali’s DNA had been recovered from the scene of the crime and matched samples from seven similar recent cases in the area.

“His DNA has matched all eight cases and he has confessed,” Muhammad Sajid, a police spokesman in Kasur, said, adding that three of the victims had survived after being brutalised in the mentioned incidents.

Ali’s court appearance came as new details emerged about his behavior following the murder of Zainab.

According to the victim’s father Ameen Ansari, Ali — who lived nearby — had participated in the initial protests that erupted after Zainab’s body was discovered.

Kasur rape case: Murderer of 8-year-old Zainab arrested

“He was the person who insisted upon continuing the protests and keeping the body of Zainab on road when we had negotiations with the police chief and agreed to bury Zainab’s body,” Ansari told AFP on Wednesday.

However, doubts remain over whether police have succeeded in capturing the correct assailant in the case.

Muhammad Ayub, the uncle of another victim, said police had a troubling record in similar cases.

A BBC report last week accused police of the extrajudicial killing of a man wrongfully accused in one of the earlier murder cases.

“Police had already killed three people wrongly in such cases. It may be another attempt of police officials to wash people’s eyes,” Ayub said.

Pakistan’s forensic experts remain confident they have nabbed the true culprit.

“Our 50-member team of DNA scientists… conducted tests on 60 to 70 people every day until they traced the culprit,” said Rana Muhammad Shafique, a senior official at Punjab Forensic Science Agency, Pakistan’s only forensic laboratory.

Prior to the recent flood of cases, Kasur was already infamous for sexual abuse, after authorities uncovered a huge paedophilia ring in the city in 2015.

Malik recommends section 364A of PPC be amended to include terms public hanging for those who murder, rape minors

  • Kasur rape case: Murderer of 8-year-old Zainab arrested

    Spokesperson of Punjab govt says DNA has been sent for confirmation

  • Kasur abuse case: Zainab's ‘murderer’ remanded in police custody for 14 days

    Amid tight security, Imran was presented before an anti-terrorism court in Lahore

  • Zainab's murderer should be hanged publicly: Shehbaz Sharif

    Punjab CM says civil and military agencies had worked jointly to nab 24-year-old Imran

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